Businesses owned by Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders in Arizona by the Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce Inc. They generate more than $ 4.5 billion in annual revenue. (Photo by Harry Crton / KJ)

The plague destroyed small businesses across the country, but when the federal government stepped in to help, some Asian-owned businesses found that the best relief came from the community rather than Congress.

At the height of COVID-19, small business administration and the federal government rushed to support small businesses with loans, loans and grants. But some Asian-owned businesses are facing obstacles.

Ellen Endo, president of the Tokyo-Tokyo Business Association in Los Angeles, said the lack of access to commercial loans for wage protection programs was a result of cultural and socio-economic barriers such as lack of technology and language barriers.

Endo said, “(The gift) was open to everyone. People who can do it, but others also escape because they have lost track of how to apply and where to work.

Brian Kito is the third-generation owner of Fugusu-do, a Japanese sweet shop, founded in 1903 in the heart of downtown La Mochi, Flour, Cloudy Rice Cake. Store durability has been tested for over 120 years, and COVID-19 was the latest test.

“It was stressful, and it was stressful for all the small businesses,” said Quito.

The Business Association has partnered with the Small Tokyo Service Center and the Small Tokyo Community Council to support a personal assistance program that provides business assistance through language-assisted applications through bilingual consultants.

According to the Bureau of National Economic Research, Asian-owned trade fell 26 percent between March and April 2020, and continued decline in May and June.

The report states that sustained financial losses to minority and refugee-owned businesses “could be a problem for racial inequality” and the lack of significant economic recovery.

Community organizations in small Tokyo have come up with some solutions.

They bought food from restaurants and distributed it to the elderly so that they would not get sick. The GoFundMe-sponsored, volunteer-led food program has helped support businesses and vulnerable members of the community.

“These are basic, basic programs that started during the epidemic,” says Endo. All of this is done in the community — perhaps within our physical boundaries, but certainly in the Asian-American community.

Asian-American businesses in Arizona generate more than $ 4.5 billion in annual revenues and earn more than $ 800 million, according to the Arizona Asian Business Association Inc.

The council noted that since the outbreak in March 2020, it has exceeded 60 percent to 85 percent of national economic research estimates.

Related history

In a May article on AZ Big Media, former sub-city chief executive, Vicent Reid said the organization had worked with cities to support local Asian businesses for $ 3 million. The council also launched Takeout on Thursday to highlight local businesses and help drive traffic. The Council did not respond to a request for comment.

In Manhattan, New York, another community faced similar problems and turned to local charities and community partners for solutions.

The Manhattan Chinata spread over 2 miles and was packed with restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, shops and more. As it did in Little Tokyo, LA, the COVID-19 forced many Chinese town businesses — new and many generations — to close their doors and wait for recovery signs.

That relief came as a welcome visit to Chinatown, a charity founded in March 2020, hoping to fill the void left by the lack of government support.

By the end of 2021, the organization plans to provide $ 1 million in small business assistance. He also developed a food program called Sik Fan Fund in Cantonese. Officials say they have served more than 25,000 meals and raised more than $ 200,000 for restaurants in China Town.

Welcome to Chinatown Jackie Wang, Head of Marketing and Communications, said the assistance program was built with reliable access. With one online application, multilingual volunteers toured businesses with paper applications.

He said it was important to realize that Wang was a partner for businesses, not a savior.

According to Wang, the outbreak has created fear and frustration among business owners, who sometimes see closed doors and closed signs.

“We said, ‘What do you know? We have some businesses. This is my only time to retire, ”Wang said.

Kito points out a common thread in the Fugusu-Do, Japanese-American community in Los Angeles: Strength.

“It is not new to us, it is a generation,” recalling the concentration camps that forced the American Americans into World War II. “You look at the small Tokyo or Japanese-American community, and it seems to be getting stronger as it gets harder.

And it’s something that the community is so proud of.

This story is a national report on COVID-19, published in August in collaboration with Walter Kronti School, Carnegie-Night News 21 in collaboration with Unmasking America. Check out the project blog here.